Anybody who is looking at lap band surgery will almost certainly have a list of questions and fairly high up on that list is going to be the question of price. Sadly, though this might seem like a simple question, it is not quite so simple to answer.
The price of lap band surgery will depend upon many factors but the first thing you have got to do is determine whether you qualify for surgery.
Deciding that you want surgery is one thing but when it comes to paying for surgery whether or not you meet the requirements of the National Institutes of Health is a critical factor.
Ordinarily, if you have a body mass index of 40 or more you will meet the requirements of the NHI. You can also qualify if your BMI falls between 35 and 39 providing you are also suffering from a serious medical condition which is associated with your weight.
The list of associated conditions is long but includes such things as diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol.
If you fail to meet the criteria laid down by the NHI then you will have to pay the full cost of surgery yourself.
The next thing which you must determine is whether your health insurance will pay for some or all of the cost of your surgery. It is frequently thought that insurers will not pay for weight loss surgery but this is not true and insurance companies are increasingly meeting either all or part of the cost of weight loss surgery.
Having said this, your health insurance company will only meet the cost if you meet the criteria laid down by the NIH and if your doctor certifies that your surgery is a medical necessity.
So, how much does surgery cost?
The price of surgery is complex because you need to include not merely the price of the surgery itself but the associated costs which will vary widely according to where your surgery is carried out and by whom.
Costs must include such things as pre-surgical tests, fees for your surgeon and hospital charges. Additionally, there will be various post-surgery charges for services like follow-up medical visits, psychological support and nutritional counseling.
Where surgery is done in the US then you could expect to pay anywhere between $17,000 and $30,000 for your surgery and post-operative care providing you do not encounter any complications. While significant complications are uncommon they do arise every now and again and the cost can then rise considerably.
Where surgery is done outside of the US then the price will be lower and you could expect to pay between $11,000 and $16,000. Lap band procedures have been carried out for some considerably time in both Europe and Australia where the results have been excellent and is now being carried out increasingly in countries like Brazil, India, Mexico, Canada and the Far East.
If you are thinking about going overseas for surgery then you must factor in the cost of travel and post-operative care which can add considerably to the overall cost but still be cheaper than undergoing surgery at home.
You also need to check with your health insurance company if applicable because it is very unlikely that your insurer will fund the cost of surgery which is done overseas. Lastly, you must take into consideration the fact that you may well have considerably less legal protection should anything go wrong with surgery outside of your home country.
In most cases having your surgery in your home country will probably be your best and safest choice but if the difference in price is large enough in your particular case then you may well feel that it is worth the risk.
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